PHOTOS: A crowd of over three hundred people from all walks of life, all ages, and varying backgrounds enjoyed a beautiful, entertaining evening once again at the Batya Annual Benefit at the Radisson Hotel in Freehold this past Sunday.
In just its second annual dinner, Batya has earned a reputation as being an event that is enjoyable, entertaining and uplifting, and guests actually look forward to returning.
With a packed house, delicious food by Greenwald Caterers, delightful program, and fantastic ambiance, every guest truly enjoyed. Aside for the dinner program, guests were treated to a Gala auction with many fabulous prizes. Many of the Batya girls were present at the dinner as volunteers running the auction, registration, etc., adding a special touch to the atmosphere.
The Parent Tribute Award was presented to Gay and Richard Fried from East Brunswick, NJ. The Fried’s daughter Dina has been involved in Batya since its founding year, and the Frieds have always been active and supportive parents. Dina is currently studying in seminary in Eretz Yisroel, and so was not present at the event. “We could never say no to Dina when it came to Batya events,” Richard laughs. “She just loved going too much!” The guests enjoyed a moving presentation in which the Fried Family highlighted their experience at Batya and the positive impact they’ve seen on Dina and her friends. “I think it’s helped her to find who she is and set her on the right path,” Gay said.
A highlight of the evening was a memorial dedication in memory of Marcus Lipshitz, by his sister Dr. Carol Kornmehl. As recipient of the evening’s Jewish Woman’s Leadership award, Carol dedicated the award in memory of her beloved brother who passed away almost a year ago. The Kornmehl family also announced a dedication of Batya’s Monmouth County Action program – a volunteer chesed program at Batya – in memory of Marcus, a fitting tribute for a man who was known for his kindness and gentle spirit. Chelsea Kornmehl, a member of Batya for many years and student at Ilan High School, presented the award to her mother, sharing a glimpse of Carol’s incredible dedication and ambition in all areas. “Despite her career as a doctor, she didn’t lose sight of her values as a Jewish mother… She always encouraged us to grow religiously… never defensive but rather used it as an impetus for her own growth.”
The Pillars of Excellence Award was presented to Gershon and Miriam Biegeleisen, a wonderful couple who have assisted countless people in their quiet way. Usually taking all pains to avoid publicity, the Biegeleisens feel a strong desire to support Batya’s mission and accepted this award to help advance the cause. “We hope to see Batya grow nationally, as it has already began, and offer its programs to many more Jewish girls,” said Gershon.
“Batya in Scrapbook”, the climax of the evening, was a fantastic production that combined inspiration and hilarity, seriousness and fun, introspection and friendliness, in a classic Batya fashion. The guests enjoyed an “inner look” at Batya’s various programs, and heard from girls and parents about how much they have gained from their involvement. “I think it’s helped me become a better person – paying attention to internal growth as opposed to just being nice to other people.” “No one judges you or tells you that to be a good Jew you have to wear skirts… they just help you grow in whatever way you can.” The audience was inspired by the powerful message, summed up at the end of the video by Curtis Stoner, parent from Marlboro, NJ. “What we should be worrying about is the continuation of Judaism and stopping the assimilation. This is not only for your daughters… this is for the entire Jewish community.”
Batya, a youth group for teenage girls, has branches in 8 communities across NY, NJ and PA, as well as branches in Florida, Baltimore and Chicago. Within its unique and warm environment, hundreds of girls are thriving and growing, and connecting to their heritage. Through weekly programming, special events, trips and community service, Batya offers its members opportunities to develop leadership skills, teamwork, and long-lasting friendships. The girls explore Torah and yiddishkeit and learn to develop a pride in themselves as members of Klal Yisroel.
To learn more about this wonderful organization, visit www.batyagirls.org, or call 732-835-BATYA(2289). TLS-Press Release.